If you have teenagers, you know that two of their most beloved pieces of hardware are the cellphone and the car. Put them together, and it’s teen nirvana. One quarter of teenagers say they text while driving, according to a new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, despite the many public safety campaigns pointing out the dangers. Half of the teenagers polled say they have ridden in a car while the teenage driver was texting.
To say texting while driving is a dumb idea is an understatement, given that all the research shows that doing so—or even just talking on the phone—makes an accident much more likely. (A recent Virginia Tech study says texters are 23 times more likely to have a crash.) But since we regard cars as mobile living rooms, it’s easy to see why it’s hard for us all, teenagers and adults alike, to resist.
I recently suggested three ways to cut the risk of teenagers texting while driving: Set family rules for cellphone use; never use a phone while walking, driving, or otherwise moving; and don’t text and drive yourself. My clever readers came up with many more:
This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.